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Best Summit Hikes in the Kootenays

There’s a certain feeling that you get from summiting a peak. Whether it’s a quick stroll to gain a 360° view or a physical feat of stamina that will wipe you out for days afterwards (your poor calves), summiting a peak is always a thrilling experience.

You feel like you have done something significant when you take those last few steps and you can’t go any further; no higher place can be reached. It stirs something deep inside people like nothing experienced before. Some say it is the reward of an uninhibited view. Others say it is the feeling of conquering nature. 

I like to think that it’s about finishing a challenge that is presented, regardless of how much crazy vertical it will take to get to the top. As the old saying says; it’s about the journey, not the destination. Now, get out there and climb some of the “top 10 peaks” in the Kootenays.

#1 – Idaho Peak (near New Denver)

The hike to Idaho Peak can be done easily and is a must do for anyone visiting Slocan Lake in the West Kootenays.
(The road to Idaho Peak has been washed out; the road will remain closed in 2021.)

A top of Idaho Peak with Slocan Lake below; photo by Kari Medig

#2 –  Mt. Begbie (Revelstoke)

This hike is a rite of passage in Revelstoke. Views are limited on the way up but you will be rewarded when you reach the top.

Mt. Begbie at night; photo by Eric Hanson

#3 – Mt. Burgess (Field/Yoho National Park)

This standalone peak rises over the iconic Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park. Treat yourself to a stay in the iconic Emerald Lake Lodge to recount your feat.

#4 – Old Glory (Rossland)

The mountain that dominates all others in the Rossland region used to have a house on top that functioned as a weather station.

Old Glory above Rossland, BC; photo by Ryan Flett

#5 –  Mt. Carlyle (New Denver)

The land around Carlyle was famous for silver mining back in the late 1800’s and you will still find old mining equipment to this day on this steep, scrambling hike.

Mt. Carlyle near Kaslo, BC in the Selkirk Mountains; photo by Ryan Flett

#6 – Pigeon Spire (near Brisco/Radium Hot Springs)

One of the most iconic peaks in Canada resides within the stunning Bugaboos Provincial Park. You can hike to its base but you’ll need climbing gear and mountaineer skills to reach the top.

The Bugaboos; Photo by Topher Donahue

#7 –  Three Sisters (Fernie)

This hike in Fernie has it all; easy walking through cedar forests, alpine meadows and views from the peak that will make you want to keep exploring.

#8  – Mt. Loki (near Kaslo)

One of the most accessible high peaks in the West Kootenays (near Kaslo). This one will make you feel like you’re on top of the world.

Mt. Loki; Photo by Chris Wheeler

#9 –  Fisher Peak (near Cranbrook/Kimberley)

Fisher Peak dominates the skyline above Cranbrook. At 2,886m, this 1,400m vertical hike isn’t for the faint at heart.
(Due to a nearby wildfire; access to Fisher Peak is not permitted at this time.)

Making your way to the summit of Mt. Fisher in the Canadian Rockies; photo by Kari Medig

#10 –  Pulpit Rock (Nelson)

Pulpit Rock; Photo by Dave Heath

Across the lake from Nelson is this quick grind of a hike that affords an excellent view of the community and Kootenay Lake. Not enough? Continue up to the Flagpole to get an even higher view.

Know Before You Go!

~ Take extra time to research and plan your trip in advance. Many of our tourism businesses and services have adopted new COVID-19 protocols and changes to their schedules or policies to ensure your safety. You’ll want to become familiar with them ahead of time.

~ If you normally travel with extended family or with several friends, consider travelling in a smaller group. Travelling with fewer people makes it easier for you to practise physical distancing in public, and may have less of an impact on the destination.

~ Consider a slower travel pace to help curb the spread. Instead of checking in and out of multiple destinations during one trip, choose one or two destinations and one/two accommodation properties for your entire trip (and explore all the things to do & see nearby).

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~ Family-Friendly Backcountry Adventures in the Kootenays
~ Hidden Waterfalls in the Kootenays
~ Kootenay Hacks: Tips Before You Go Exploring
~ Multi-generational Family Hiking in the Kootenays
~ Our Extreme Adventures in the Kootenays
~ Out Your Back Door: Kootenay Community Treks
~ Tips: How to be a Safe & Responsible Traveller

Words by Ryan Flett.  Top photo by Ryan Flett of Old Glory in Rossland.

Ryan Flett – is  a local photographer from Nelson, BC. Ryan started skiing at Whitewater Ski Resort at a young age and knew that his obsession with the outdoors would guide him.  He sought a career where he could experience the world around him and capture its beauty. He’s chased skiers down powder runs in the Kootenays, experienced the culture wonders of South America, sailed the majestic BC coast and travelled east to west in Canada.  And continues experiencing as much as he can, with his camera in tow. 

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(Original published date in August 2017.)

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